It was just 4 1/2 years ago, and Mary Kay Paulson remembers it well. She and husband Ron were working with an architect and builder on the custom brick house they were building in the new community of Marwood in Potomac.
The original Marwood was the fabulous Gore family estate overlooking the Potomac River. About the time the Paulsons came along, the Gore land was being subdivided for construction of about two dozen elegant custom homes around the original mansion and its gate house.
The Gore mansion and gate house were each sold to new owners while the new houses were being built. The resulting Marwood community faces River Road and backs up to the C&O Canal.
The Paulsons’ lot is a little more than an acre, with woodland along the back and undeveloped common space opposite the front. Mrs. Paulson remembers wanting the perfect house to go with it.
“Together with the builder and the architect, we planned every inch. I was able to put in all the things I wanted. It’s just a perfect house for us,” she said.
One priority was lots of light, so the house has many big Palladian windows and French doors. Mrs. Paulson admits to giving the builder fits by insisting on a window in the master bedroom walk-in closet. He said it wasn’t possible, she said, but she persisted and he found a way.
That closet, 24 feet long, also has a skylight.
Some details are such elegant appointments as interior ornamental columns and painted bathroom tiles. Some are luxuries, such as a butler’s pantry, three wet bars, three whirlpool tubs and three fireplaces. Still others are useful mechanisms, such as a switch-controlled electric pulley that lowers a huge crystal chandelier in the two-story foyer to the floor so it can be cleaned easily.
With about 7,000 square feet of finished living space, the house has four bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths.
Now, because Mr. Paulson has received a job transfer to California, the couple have put the house on the market. The asking price is $1.875 million.
The entry foyer has a floor made of Rose Aurora marble, a pure white marble with a touch of rose that is “hard to get,” Mrs. Paulson said, and which she also used for the fireplace surround in the living room and the two vanity tops in the master bath.
“I love Rose Aurora marble,” she said. “I looked in three states and the District. I finally found this through a distributor in New Jersey.”
A second-floor Palladian window lights the foyer, as do sidelights and a sunburst at the front door. There is a curved formal staircase in the foyer and two coat closets, with lights that come on when the doors are opened.
The house has formal living and dining rooms, a first-floor library and a first-floor family room. The kitchen and adjacent breakfast room have French doors to a three-level flagstone patio in the rear.
Also on the first floor is an elegant powder room with a designer pedestal sink painted with flowers and gilt trim. It has gold-plated fixtures.
“I love that little sink,” Mrs. Paulson said.
There is a full bath off a large room at the rear entry. That room serves as a rear foyer, a laundry room and a hobby room. “I like to sew, and I keep my fabric here,” she said. There is a window seat in this room, and a door from this room to the three-car side-loading garage.
There is oak flooring in the living room, dining room, library, kitchen, breakfast room and powder room. There is a wide arched opening between the living and dining rooms, flanked by classic ornamental columns.
The living room boasts four Palladian windows, and the dining room has a large bay window to the floor. The family room, with a beamed cathedral ceiling and ceiling fan, is carpeted in off-white. It has a tall brick fireplace with a hand-carved mantelpiece of red oak, and a wet bar with granite top.
There are two built-in enter-tainment centers in this room, plus a cabinet to house a speaker system. There are six tall windows set into a bay, each topped with a sunburst window, with a door to the patio at one side.
The kitchen has an L-shaped center island topped with granite. The butler’s pantry and wet bar, which are between the kitchen and dining room, also have granite counters. The kitchen counters are Corian, trimmed in birch. The kitchen cabinets are birch, and there is a matching built-in desk with bookshelves.
Off the kitchen is a large walk-in pantry in addition to the butler’s pantry.
The library has two Palladian windows to match those in the living room. It has two large built-in cherry bookcases with cabinets beneath, and a built-in cherry desk.
All four bedrooms are on the second floor. The master bed-room and one other bedroom have their own private baths, each with a whirlpool tub. The other two bedrooms have a bathroom between them with a double vanity.
“There are two or three phone jacks in every bedroom,” Mrs. Paulson said.
The master bedroom has a tray ceiling and a sitting room in a wide bay with six windows, separated from the bedroom by a pair of ornamental columns. The bedroom has a built-in entertainment center and built-in drawers and shelves.
The master bath has a skylight and a double shower with a painted ceramic tile accent on the wall. A pocket door separates the master bath from the bedroom, and a second pocket door creates a private water closet.
The floor in the master bedroom is carpeted in white, and the floor in the master bath is bleached oak.
In the 24-foot walk-in master bedroom closet is a door to a small room that Mrs. Paulson said she planned to line with cedar but never did. As it is, “it’s great for luggage,” she said, but large enough for a variety of potential uses.
On the walkout lower level is a recreation room with an eating area and a full kitchen, forming a large great room. There also is a lower-level den or study and an exercise room, each with oak flooring, and a large unfinished storage space where Mr. Paulson has a workshop.
The recreation room has French doors to the patio, a fireplace with a green marble surround, oak flooring and a cherry wet bar.
The lower-level kitchen has Corian counters and a breakfast bar. There is a full bath with Rose Aurora marble floor and whirlpool tub on the lower level.
Linking the first floor and the lower level are front and rear staircases. Outside, the land-scaping includes a rose garden, five crape myrtles, three southern magnolias, three lilacs plus azaleas, camellias, redbuds, dogwoods, flowering cherries and a perennial garden.
“It’s a wonderful neighborhood,” Mrs. Paulson said. “People work together, and everybody has lots of fun. They’re nice, nice people.”
Address: 11202 River View Drive, Potomac, Md. 20854
Age: 4 1/2 years
Price: $1.875 million
Size: About 7,000 square feet on lot of 1.13 acres
Taxes: About $11,000; homeowner association dues $160 per month
Exterior features: Custom brick Colonial with covered front porch, three-car side-entry garage, three-level terraced flagstone patio, brick walks, wrought-iron fencing, sprinkler system, exterior lighting, landscaping
Interior features: Two-story entry foyer, formal living and dining rooms, first-floor library, first-floor family room, kitchen with adjacent breakfast room, butler’s pantry, walk-in storage pantry, four bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths, first-floor combination laundry and hobby room, walkout lower-level recreation room with eating area, lower-level kitchen, lower-level den or study, lower-level exercise room, large unfinished storage room, three-zone gas and electric heat, three-zone electric air conditioning
Amenities: Rose Aurora marble, oak and ceramic tile flooring, three fireplaces, three wet bars, Palladian windows, French doors, skylights, crown moldings, chair rails, wainscoting, ornamental interior columns, sculpture niche, front and rear staircases from first floor to lower level, cathedral ceilings in the foyer and family room, tray ceiling in the master bedroom, three built-in entertainment centers, sound system, built-in bookcases, built in desks, built-in dressers, three whirlpool tubs, two window seats, chandeliers, ceiling medallions, recessed lighting, ceiling fan, laundry chute
Schools: Potomac Elementary, Hoover Middle and Churchill High
Close by: About 1 1/2 miles to shopping in Potomac, about 5 miles to the Beltway at River Road interchange
Open house: By appointment
Contact: Krystina Litwin, Realtor with Long & Foster, at 301/983-0060, 301/299-6098 or 301/332-7615 (cell phone).